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09-28-2011, 09:04 PM
Leslie Treff
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,226
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This is the first Top 20 that I am in a quandary on in quite a few years. I think that most of us agree that Thomas has first line potential, so unless someone else has first line of pairing potential, I generally don't put them ahead of a first line/pairing guy. On the other hand, Thomas may be considered to be less certain than I would hope--thus the D in the rating.

As I explained, I think that Erixon may have a higher offensive upside than McDonagh. McDonagh was actually traded to the Rangers at least in part because Montreal realized that he was not going to be the offensive defenseman that they drafted him as. And I don't think he will. He is going to be a really solid second pairing two-way guy. I don't understand why some folks think that I am down on him. I am not at all. I love his game; its just that I think that Erixon may provide more offense, so that gives him an edge in my mind.

I am not sure where to put McIlrath. But he is trending upward.

Johnson may very well be too high, but a lot will depend on what he does in the next couple of months. If he puts on a show like his rookie season, I think he may become an NHL backup, if not in New York, then somewhere else, while other players in his range may not make the NHL at all.

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